Update: I have been informed that the lens I borrowed was the 24-70mm I, not the 24-70mm II. It isn’t quite as good as the 24-70mm II, and it is slightly cheaper.

I recently had the chance to borrow the Canon 24-70mm L lens for a shoot, and I really liked it! I looked up the price, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. $1,800 for a camera lens? Well, it was a really nice lens. I began to think, what’s the difference between my $250 kit lens and this $1,800 lens? Is it really worth the additional $1,550? That was it. I knew I had to write about it!

The Spec Battle

Here’s the breakdown

Canon 18-55mm Canon 24-70mm
Aperture f/3.5-5.6 f/2.8
Auto Focus Yes Yes
OIS Yes No
Price $249 $1,799

Let’s see some test shots!

Before we get any further in this article, we need to see some test shots! My comparison was strictly for video, and you can check out my comparison video below, which includes test shots.

So, is it worth it?

My immediate thought would be no, but let’s look a little more in depth before we answer that.

“The background was so creamy on the 24-70 test shots!”

Yep, you’d be right. That’s thanks to the f/2.8 aperture. That allows for some nice, creamy backgrounds. Wouldn’t that alone make this lens worth the extra money? Yes and no. If you want convenience, then yes. However, there is a way to get creamy backgrounds on a budget. Prime lenses. I’ve already compared my kit lens to a $125 prime lens in another article, so you can read that here if you would like. For some basic insight, the Canon 50mm STM f/1.8 lens costs $125, and the aperture is lower than the $1,800 lens! What’s the trade off, you may ask? With a prime lens, there is no zoom. That particular lens has a fixed focal length of 50mm. If your subject is too far or too close, you have to resort to the old fashion way – walking!

Canon24mmPrimeThe Downside Of Primes

Like any seemingly good thing, there are downsides. As mentioned earlier, a prime lens is a fixed focal length. That can leave you wanting several different prime lenses, which can become costly and inconvenient to constantly switch lenses. I have a 50mm prime lens, but I’d love a 100mm prime lens (which is a whopping $499, I might add) and a 24mm prime lens, which is definitely more money. It’s also less convenient, because instead of turning a zoom ring, I have to switch lenses. When I borrowed the 24-70mm lens, I was filming a live performance, which required constantly zooming and tracking subjects. Prime lenses would have simply been unacceptable for this scenario, so you’d have to settle for your
kit lens if you are unable to get your hands on a lens like this.

After All That Blabber, IS This Lens Worth It?

Yes, if you’re a professional. I certainly would not tell a beginner or intermediate user to go out and fork over $1,800 for this lens! For beginners, learning the basics on your kit lens will be perfectly good enough. Once you are an intermediate user, you can graduate to prime lenses. When you’re a professional, or if photography and/or videography is your passion, then this lens is for you. If you want this lens, but it’s just too hard on your pocket, there is one alternative: the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. While this lens won’t be quite as good as Canon’s L lens, it will offer similar performance at a fraction of the price, not to mention it is available in many different mounting systems.


The Canon 24-70mm lens is an amazing lens. It’s for a small percentage of camera users who are professionals, or who are camera enthusiasts looking for the best lens available.

Kevin Nether